Space Relations: How to Deal With a Changing Roommate

One thing that can be hard about living with roommates is that change is inevitable. People change, jobs change, friendships change, and anything is possible when you’re young and sharing a home with other young people. Those are arguably the days and years you change the most, which can be great in terms of growth and independence but not so great in terms of how it can impact your household.

Life would be boring without change, and people would be boring if they always stayed the same. Granted, I still watch reruns of shows on the Game Show Network that I loved as a kid, but does that mean I’m still the same person? Decidedly no. (Although occasionally I do miss my hair crimper.) Most things about me now are pretty different from when I was 13, or 18, or even 25 (and I’m 29 now). And while I’ve mentioned before that my freshman dorm roommate and I are still great friends, I don’t actually believe that she and I would be compatible roommates anymore.

However, I really wouldn’t know because she “broke up” with me before our senior year of college. We’d lived together for three years and had lots of great times. As friends and as roommates, we just worked. Everything was perfect…until she got cancer. After surgery and medication and lots of doctor visits, she wound up being healthy and OK, but something had changed. Or rather, she had changed. She’d gone through a lot and was in need of different scenery. She brought up moving into another house together, but the few houses we looked at weren’t any better than the one we already shared. One day, she just laid it all out for me: She wanted to move on.

At the time I remember feeling really sad, surprised and confused. We worked so well together! Everything was moving along; we were about to enter our senior year! But for her, it was a necessity for growing up, and she listened to that voice inside of her that said, “It’s time for something new.” Sometimes when someone else is going through a big change, and you’re not, and you live together, things can get complicated.

It happened to another friend of mine in college, as well. He met his roommate during freshman year in the dorms, and they decided to live together the next year. But the laid back dude who left for summer break after freshman year came back as a whole new person in the fall. Nothing monumental had happened in his life, except for the fact that he’d become a drug dealer.

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